A man who teaches how to strengthen relationships between fathers and daughters is the keynote speaker of a conference opening today in Ames. Joe Kelly, executive director of Dads and Daughters, says a father can have a great impact and a positive influence on a daughter’s life. To be effective, he says fathers have to be keenly aware of what girls today are facing.Girls face much pressure to fit into a narrow definition of what’s acceptable, often being judged more for how they look than who they are and what they’re capable of doing. Kelly says fathers are in a unique position to counter the cultural messages that girls have to look and act a certain way to attract a boy’s attention. He says the first “boy” a girl gets to know is her dad, and a dad can counter the outside messages.Kelly and his wife live in Duluth, Minnesota, and co-founded “New Moon” Magazine for girls. They have two adult daughters. He says there are people in this country who are making billions of dollars off the insecurities of girls. He says all the magazines out there for girls make the girls feel bad so they’re motivated to buy things promoted by the magazines.Kelly is keynote speaker of the fifth annual conference called “Whispers and Screams are Hard to Hear — Creating an Audience for Girls’ Voices.” It brings a variety of professionals together from across Iowa who are involved with juvenile justice and at-risk youth. The conference runs today and tomorrow at the Holiday Inn Gateway Center in Ames.
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